Hammersmith & Fulham Council has unveiled ambitious new plans to tackle the borough’s lack of affordable homes.
The council’s new ‘Local Plan’ – formally adopted on 28 February – sets out the council’s vision for the borough to 2035. Specifically, it includes the target of at least 50 per cent of all new homes being genuinely affordable.
“Increasing our supply of genuinely affordable homes is a challenge which we will not shy away from,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration.
“We care about our residents and want them to be able to afford to stay in the borough. That’s why it is our vision for the future that no one is left behind during this period of strong economic growth in H&F.”
The council has also pledged to build 19,800 new homes – particularly family and genuinely affordable homes to buy or rent, which meet the needs of local people.
Building more new homes
H&F Council has recently secured agreement for the largest number of genuinely affordable new homes in 10 years, from a number of developments across the borough. These include plans to build 30 new, genuinely affordable homes by redeveloping the council-owned Fulham North Housing Office and adjacent car park.
A further 133 affordable homes are planned for the Clem Attlee estate in Fulham at Edith Summerskill House the vast majority at council-level rents with residents given first chance to move in.
The Local Plan reinforces the council’s commitment to building new, genuinely affordable homes in the borough for residents to buy or rent.
It sets out that 60 per cent of all affordable housing should be at social or affordable rent level and 40 per cent at intermediate level and offered to households who cannot afford to buy and/or rent homes on the open market.
To maximise the affordable housing supply, the council will receive affordable housing contributions on all developments with 11 or more homes.
To do this, regeneration will focus on four parts of the borough: White City, Hammersmith, Fulham and South Fulham and will also prioritise improving training and job opportunities for local residents.
And to nurture entrepreneurship, all major business development schemes must provide affordable office space.
Keeping older people in their homes for longer
Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that there is likely to be a 58 per cent increase in those aged over 65, and those aged over 85 is set to more than double.
Older people have told us they want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Therefore, the plan sets out the council’s determination to increase the supply of both wheelchair-accessible and wheelchair-adaptable housing.
To help older residents live near their friends and family, the council will support applications for new specialist housing where there is a proven local demand.
Crackdown on basements
While residents can still extend their homes there is also a pressing need to restrict the scale of basement developments. Basements will still be permitted but the guidelines will now limit their size.
This includes: limiting the extent that basements can extend under the garden to 50 per cent; a restriction to a single storey in most cases (with exceptions for large sites); ensuring they are designed to minimise the risk of flooding to the property and nearby properties and a requirement for traffic management plans to be submitted with planning applications to help protect residents from the disturbance caused by these developments.
“Extensive basement developments can cause years of misery for those living nearby. These new guidelines strike the right balance between addressing our residents’ concerns and the genuine need for people to expand their homes,” added Cllr Jones.
Help for pubs
Other highlights of the planning document include:
- resisting the loss of pubs to higher value uses, such as being turned into houses and offices
- cracking down on the high concentration of betting shops, pawn brokers and payday loan shops
- limiting the number of takeaways near schools
- protecting health and community facilities
- making the borough greener to help tackle air quality issues.
The new policy is expected to come into effect on 28 February.
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